It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Thoughts On Exotic Propulsion Systems...

page: 1
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 12:06 PM
In an ongoing effort to determine the likelyhood of ExtraTerrestrial/ExtraDimensional visitation, I've been examining different aspects of the 'problem' (as viewed by many mainstream scientists) of how would 'they' (an intelligent entity from another Star System) get 'here' to Earth.

In this thread I'd like to discuss the possible mechanisms that could transport either a physical entity or the 'projection' of a physical entity across such a vast distance. I'm open to examining the mechanisms that could transport a 'non-physical entity' such a distance also, but this thread is primarily concerned with the physical entity aspect possibilities, as defined by present Human Science.

For the sake of having a set standard for comparison of different mechanisms, I'll propose an example, so that we can all use it for reference.

EBE Species 'Bob' lives in the Star System Alpha Centauri on Planet X (Proxima Centauri in this example), and wants to visit Earth (planet Y) to check out the local life forms.
Planet X (Alien World) is 4.22 light years away.
The speed of light (in a vacuum) for this experiment will be assumed to be constant, at: 299,792,458 metres per second (1,079,252,849 km/h).
Here is a visual aid of how fast that is in perspective with the size of the Earth:

So traveling at approximately 300,000,000 metres per second, it will take 4.22 years for EBE Species 'Bob' to travel from their homeworld to Earth.

Now, several of the mechanisms proposed by Science to date would propel a craft much slower than the speed of light. Some theoretical mechanisms would propel a craft much faster than the speed of light. The speed of light is here only to serve as a basis for reference, and as a 'standard' speed required for realistic travel between the stars.

So for this thread what I'm looking for is 2 things:
1) Mechanism for Exotic Propulsion
(Warp Drive, Ion Engines, Solar Sails, Nuclear Wake Riding, Wormholes, etc.)
2) Length of time it would take that species to reach Earth, assuming that they were coming from Planet X above (4.22 light years away).

I'll say right off the bat here that I don't think this thread will necessarily 'prove' anything. It's about what is possible, and the ramifications of the possibilities in terms of distance and time.

Thoughts? Ideas? Favorite Exotic Propulsion Systems you'd like to theoretically evaluate?


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 12:16 PM
I like to think it would be possible to travel faster than the speed of light by using some kind of inter-dimensional or sub-space travel method.

Its theoretically impossible to travel at the speed of light in real space so if aliens have ways to travel quickly between systems I think they would be somehow related to an 'alternate space' like the hyperspace concept you see in science fiction.

Superlunary travel (faster than light) would be necessary for any kind of space empire/alliance etc. so if aliens are real we can assume that superlunary travel is possible as well.

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 12:40 PM
First off, the speed of light is only a number. I'm aware of a recent experiment which involved radio waves exceeding the speed of light. So the speed of light isn't really a benchmark, in my opinion.

Next is the extreme possibility that the straight route isn't the quickest way to get from point A to point B. In other words: Wormholes.

But if you want to know how I would propel a space ship, my answer is thus: I would tap into gravity. Not just in the sense of using Saturn's gravity on a flyby, but more into turning gravity on and off as it affects one's craft. In addition to this I would use some sort of magnetic ion drive.

Until we discover those mechanisms which regularly travel faster than light, think transferrence between two photons thousands of miles apart, we will not be able to design a propulsion system which is truly capable of interplanetary flight with any relative speed.

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 01:53 PM
Very interesting thread WFA (as always)!

There are alot of theories about FTL, and how it should work and all.
Most of them are about making the mass of the ship get over the speed of light.

But there are also theories about creating short cuts, or wormholes to travell distances.

I think that getting a vessel to go faster than the light or light speed, you need you use both the vessel and space to work with.
One part of the vessel creates the speed, another part affects space to the degree where the speed of the vessel could come unlimited.
That would be cool, wouldn't it?

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 03:05 PM
One Of the real fun things is Einsteins theory about special realtivity that says that when you travel in the speed of light your mass is indefinent and time stands still, putting some real fun twists into the long travel theory. If we use our current physics models it is impossible to travel at the speed of light, since it will take an unlimited amount of energy(the energy needed grows exponentially so speeds of about 85% speed of light are considered possible even with current technology).

But the real effects of the theory is that if one travel at the speed of light, it will by observers take the normal time, ex 4 years traveling 4 lightyears.
But for the traveler it will be experienced like an teleportation since the time at the speed of light stands still.

Since traveling by the speed of light is impossible by current physics models to stop time is impossible, but traveling at 85% c (speed of light) u still experience that time warp factor. Dont remember the exact numbers, (can recalculate them if any want me too) but i remember that we did some math on school and if u travel in 85% c in 5 years, the surounding universe would have traveld a few thousand years.


[edit on 11-4-2008 by Zykloner]

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 03:10 PM
Hi WitnessFromAfar.

You have had a decent idea, but may i suggest you instead consider the effects of time from the travellers perspective.

That is after all one of the (logical) problems with the velocity of light.

At a velocity C, (in this case 1.86x10 to the power 8 miles per second) the value T (time) is reduced to zero according to Einstein's theory.

So even using conventional H2/O2 based engines of sufficient sustained thrust the time it will take for such a journey is a relevant factor only according to our own frame of reference.

For the traveller instead it may be much much lower, a case of months.

Bob would only be travelling for 4.2 of our years... not his.

The simple fact that we might all die of old age by the time it takes him to have a smoke is our problem.


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 03:30 PM
I have mentioned in other threads that i believe the secret to travelling at and exceeding the speed of light is to harness the energy of light itself and "go with the flow" so to speak.

Ill be honest i have not thought how this would be done but it seems logical to me that if you want to travel at light speed then you should use light somehow as your method of propulsion.

The other thing i think of is energy equalling mass and needing an infinite amout of energy to travel at the speed of light then if using light as your propulsion the mass of your craft could be whatever you want ????

I hope that makes a little sense??

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 03:50 PM
Agreed, these are great ideas. Now that folks have begun to postulate on the possibilities, I’d like to introduce my own personal favorite theory for super-luminary travel. If possible, this method would be similar to the idea outlined by Balez above, where separate engines are utilized to achieve separate functions…

The theoretical spacecraft would contain 4 separate sets of ‘Engines’.
1) Atmospheric Engines – For entry and/or exit of atmospheres on planets
2) Propellant Based Engines – For Orbital Maneuvering, and Docking
3) AntiMatter Engines – For travel within Solar Systems, and to power the craft
4) Wormhole Engines – For travel between stars

1) Humans seem to have a pretty good grip on Atmospheric Engines. My personal favorite fuel for such an engine is rubber, a la Burt Rutan’s SpaceShip 1.

2) Propellent Based Engines – These are just basic Orbital Maneuvering systems, already used by NASA today. It’s like using an Aerosol can for just a bit of thrust. Here is a good link on this system as seen in the Shuttle:

3) AntiMatter Engines
“Approximately 10 grams of antiprotons would be enough fuel to send a manned spacecraft to Mars in one month. Today, it takes nearly a year for an unmanned spacecraft to reach Mars. In 1996, the Mars Global Surveyor took 11 months to arrive at Mars. Scientists believe that the speed of an matter-antimatter powered spacecraft would allow man to go where no man has gone before in space. It would be possible to make trips to Jupiter and even beyond the heliopause, the point at which the sun's radiation ends. But it will still be a long time before astronauts are asking their starship's helmsman to take them to warp speed. “

4) Wormhole Engines…
I’ll be the first to admit that we are not even close to perfecting a mechanism for the exploitation of wormholes. That being said, the idea has a lot of credence with me, since Wormhole theory checks out on several levels.
It is theorized that a Wormhole connects a black hole to a white hole (black holes take in all mater (even light) and white holes are observed ejecting matter into space (sometimes called GRBs). There is no visible connection between a black and white hole, however many theories suggest that between the event horizon of a black hole and the event horizon of a white hole, a wormhole spans the gap, cutting through space-time to complete the system.
Here’s a good link on this concept:
And here’s a nice pic of the system in theory:

The largest problem with the ‘travelling through wormholes’ theory, is that all matter is squished by the immense gravity of the black hole, and any matter entering the event horizon would likely be converted to energy during it’s trip through the wormhole, only to be converted back to matter upon reaching the event horizon of the white hole at the other end. A species seeking to use wormholes to travel would need to learn how to survive such a transfer.

The Z Machine, as Sandia Labs has been reported to be able to create small black holes. If Humans can establish a permanent facility at an Earth Lagrange point orbit, we could test the theory that creating our own black holes could be used as a means of exploiting wormholes for travel.

Z Machine info here:

Thoughts are welcome


[edit on 11-4-2008 by WitnessFromAfar]

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 03:53 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

Wouldn't mind seeing how that gravity propulsion method would work out if someone would iron it out...

Essentially, it's like a manufactured slingshot orbit.

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:00 PM
reply to post by Absence of Self

While I did have this issue in mind, you've found a wonderful way to phrase it

You're absolutely right. In fact there are possibilities (such as wormhole travel, or folding space) that would elliminate the travel time altogether from both perspectives (the traveller's and the travelled to's).

I'm finding the comments in this thread extremely thought provoking. Everyone please continue


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:03 PM
I would say some use electromagnetic properties, others Solar Waves, Particle Wave travel. Some use mercury through the ship the rising and the cooling temperature around the ship propels it. Others could use Star Magnets that project the drive through alignment with a star. Others could use Hydrogen, the process of compressing water to create propulsion through a wind tunnel. Some could use Crystals through malignant counter tension which changes the manuevering of a the craft. Some others Using A steam engine type of propulsion. Some propell the craft through mind projection, others could be hooked up into some type of electrode scanner picking up electrical signals from the brain. Some could use thermol dynamics, creating a wave of energy to be dispersed through the rising and cooling of the energy body. Some could use a chemical compound that creates bursts of energy on the outside hull of the deck to propell it through space. Some could just travel through the metamorphisis of molecules breaking down and re-alinging with another frequency band. Others could change the internal drive of the field of energy around the craft too erupt fuel lines to bounce off of. Ohh and a Laser propulsion system that locks on to matter through a reverse polarity, instead of it using the field of electromagnetics it just uses the field of gravity to pull itself in through a lazers beam.

[edit on 11-4-2008 by menguard]

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:06 PM
Don't forget that regardless of speed, using propulsion systems, you'll take a large amount of time speeding up to FTL speed and then significant time slowing again to orbital speed.

You have to start slowing quite a distance away from the planet meaning you'd end up going at impulse speed for a fair distance to make orbit.

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:13 PM
Admirable attempts by all at envisioning advanced alien propulsion, but I don't really think we can come up with possible systems. Why? An Alien race may be 10000 or 100000 years in advance from us, and their technology may not even be in our realm of imagination yet.

Think of it this way, picture our ancient ancestors, ancient man, would he be able to imagine what the future would be like in the year 2008, did he even know what time was? Even thinking about things he did know, say fire, could he imagine future forms of firestarting devices that we have today (Bic lighter, Magnesium etc..), things that are simple to us?

People are thinking way too conventionally about a possible alien propulsion system, things like "the time it takes to speed up and slow down" is based on our technology and our understanding of physics. You have to think REAL BIG, as in "nothing is impossible" kind of big. Then maybe we'd be on the right track in this thread.

Something to think about.

[edit on 11-4-2008 by battlestargalactica]

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:26 PM
reply to post by Badge01

Absolutely true, and thank you for adding that missing point Badge01!
I figured you had probably given this issue some thought also

In a system like the one I mentioned above, with multiple engines, a craft could conceivably use different stages for decelleration in addition to acceleration.

Your point is completely relevant though. It's a factor a species would need to consider.


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:27 PM
reply to post by battlestargalactica


We still have no idea what time actually is and our ideas of dmensions are only that... Ideas.

Einstein himself said our understanding of the concept of time is the thing which is measured by a clock.

And once we get into measuring distance we are in real trouble conceptually*

*Half of infinite anyone.. answers on a postcard?


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:49 PM
I once knew a woman who claimed to be a part of a program that went all the way back to the turn of the 20th Century. The program eventually evolved into the production of craft for probing interstallar space. A few manned craft had been tested, but with a low success rate, meaning that the pilot was lost or was killed. I never really understood the details of what she was talking about, but the general concept was this...

An electromagnetic field would envelop the craft, creating a sort of slipstream potential. Shifting the forces could create directional travel with characteristics along the lines of what is often reported by UFO witnesses. The electromagnetic sheath also counteracts the forces of velocity and gravity to the occupants, but is also adjustable. Despite the amazing speeds an maneuvering capabilities of the craft, it was far from what was needed to make for a viable circuit into interstellar space. They needed to add a "punch" to the system.

Like a street racer might use a nitro-boost, their craft was equipped with a nuclear energy boost. A vecotred nuclear thruster projected the craft into deep space within the electromagnetic slipstream.

Aparrently, there were time-diffraction elements to calculate, but somehow managed to do so in a manner to make for viable travel times to variously distant ponts.

There was a problem though, actually far less complex. No map of deep-space objects. At those speeds, even a cloud of space dust would desintegrate the craft as it went through. Not to mention hitting an uncharted asteroid, comet, planet, etc. So they had to dial-back their deeper-space ambitions to begin probing paths to nearer stars.

This was aparrently the point they were at. Probing to create maps of safe routes to travel. Even with the maps, manned successful circuits were only running about 70%.

Or maybe this woman was just a nut.

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:50 PM
reply to post by battlestargalactica

I would tend to agree with you, in the general sense, that a Type II or higher species would surely have technology availably to them (within their mental grasp) that Humans as of yet cannot envision.

That being said, one of the main reasons I started this thread was to point out that even at our current level of perception, travel between the stars should not be automatically labeled as 'crazy', 'impossible' or any other number of polite dismissals often suggested by the more skeptical amongst the scientific community as pertains to Aliens.

For the most part though, I believe you are correct, it's highly likely that ET is using technology so far advanced that we cannot even conceive of the mechanisms involved with our current level of physics comprehension.


posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 04:59 PM
reply to post by jackinthebox

Well if nothing else it's an interesting story!

Sort of reminds me of M2P2 propulsion (which has been tested by NASA).
That project involved creating an ElectroMagnetic Bubble around a spacecraft, and that bubble could be expanded or contracted (catching more or less of the 'solar wind' by 'inflating' or 'deflating' the magnetic bubble with Plasma.

One of the advantages of this type of propulsion (which to my knowledge only would be feasibly within a solar system, utilizing solar wind pressure as thrust) is that cosmic radiation and many other dangers were neutrilized by the creation of this artifical 'plasma/magnetic field atmosphere'.

EDIT: Here's a link on the M2P2 system:

At any rate, thanks for sharing. If you happen to dig up anything more about that case, I'd love to hear it.


[edit on 11-4-2008 by WitnessFromAfar]

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 05:40 PM
One of the problems I have with all of this 'lets find
a propulsion that'll get us there' idea is that we've not
fully explored the idea of where we're at and are we

I know, I'm gonna get 'been smokin' the weed again' stuff,
but it's a thought, WitnessFromAfar's example is a mere visual
effect, it has no connection to a larger object being propelled
through what we believe at this time, a space between planets.

We've got to look at what memories, at what faith and belief
are before we can say that the only way to get across space
is physically.

Anyway, I should say something funny I suppose... Knightrider.

posted on Apr, 11 2008 @ 05:45 PM
reply to post by WitnessFromAfar

Here is a visual aid of how fast that is in perspective with the size of the Earth:

Should read: Here is a visual aid of how fast the speed of light travels from the Earth to the moon.

I really like your thread Witness.. *star*

First, one thing that is already being talked about... the relativistic effects of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. People who have not read Paul R. Hill's "Unconventional Flying Objects" should do so (it's a great read, even though I only understood about 80-85% of it). Since I have the book right here I will pull some figures from a table highlighitng "Dependence of Time-Ratio on Speed-Ratio, v/c" to give people some perspective:

v/c t'/t

0.866 0.500
0.900 0.436
0.990 0.141
0.999999 0.00141

As you can see, one has to travel at a pretty significant percentage of the speed of light before Einstein's theory really starts to minimize your travels. However, (in theory) if you were able to travel at 0.999999 (99.9999% of the speed of light) you could do the alpha Centuari trip in:

0.00141 = time in years (for the spaceship occupant) taken to travel one light year.


0.00141 x 4.22 years = 0.0059502 x 365 (days in a year) = 2.17 days

One other thing I would bring up is that travel does involve more than just d/s = t. As you stated 4.22 light years... as a "ray of light" travels. But that assumes instant acceleration and deceleration. So there would be an acceleration time, a cruising time, and a deceleration time.

new topics

top topics

<<   2  3  4 >>

log in